Historic Texas Graveyards: Athens City Cemetery

June 21, 2012
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Beautiful trees at the Athens, TX cemetery. (photo by Tui Snider)

Beautiful trees at the Athens, TX cemetery. (photo by Tui Snider)

Last week, my husband and I explored Athens City Cemetery (400 Prairieville St) in Athens, Texas. It had been a full day, so we very nearly skipped the graveyard. We were both hot, sweaty and tired, having already spent the day at the nearby Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (photo essay forthcoming!) as well as poking around the town square looking for historical markers.

An emergency stop at a Braum’s Ice Cream shop for a couple of hot fudge sundaes – strictly medicinal, mind you – gave us the second wind we both needed for further explorations.

Marble angels at the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Marble angels at the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

I’m glad we checked out Athens City Cemetery because it is not only beautifully wooded, with several well-crafted headstones and historical markers, but the light when we arrived was exquisite.

Usually, late afternoon light is yellowy and warm, but for some reason, the late afternoon light at Athens City Cemetery was a soft, cool white.

Statue in the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Statue in the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Imagine, too, the gentle buzzing of cicadas and crickets, accompanying this soft, gauzy lighting. It created such a peaceful feeling. My husband, Larry, noticed it, too.

I told him that if we lived nearby, I’d want to picnic there, or at least read a book in the shade. He agreed, saying, “This is the most beautiful Texas cemetery you’ve found yet.”

Flags at the Athens, TX cemetery. (photo by Tui Snider)

Flags at the Athens, TX cemetery. (photo by Tui Snider)

Athens City Cemetery is the final resting place for some  fairly well-known bluegrass/country musicians such as:

Alton Delmore (1908 – 1964) and his brother Rabon Delmore (1916 – 1952) Known for tunes such as, “The Frozen Girl,” “See that Coon in the Hickory Tree,” and, “Don’t you see that train?” (None of which I’ve heard of before, but the titles are rather intriguing!)

Lionel Alton Delmore (1940 – 2002) This is the aforementioned Alton’s son. He is known for the tunes “Beautiful Brown Eyes” and “Midnight Special”, a (both of which I’ve actually heard of!)

Athens Cemetery also includes the grave of a Major League Baseball player:

Ray Pepper (1905 – 1996) He was an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns.

Longhorn headstone at the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Longhorn headstone at the Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

The most opulent headstones at Athens City Cemetery belong to the Wofford family. Their memorials feature beautifully carved angels and high quality marble. I haven’t yet found out anything about the Woffords, but I am curious to research their history in Athens, Texas.

Early in its history, Athens, Texas used to bill itself as the Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World, so perhaps the Woffords were
Bean Barons. Who knows?

A more recent headstone features an etching of a longhorn cow standing in a field of bluebonnets as you can see in one of the photos. You can’t get much more Texas than that!

Angel at Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Angel at Athens, TX cemetery (photo by Tui Snider)

Of course, after my recent trip to our local pet cemetery, Smoke Rise Farm here in Azle, Texas, my first thought was that someone had buried a beloved bovine named Rachel.

If you ever visit Athens, Texas, I suggest swinging by Athens City Cemetery – especially in the late afternoon. Not only is it a historical Texas graveyard, but it’s serene and photogenic.

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20 Responses to Historic Texas Graveyards: Athens City Cemetery

  1. Lisa
    November 12, 2012 at 15:34

    What is the story behind the 3 females that were not allowed to be buried inside the cemetery. Does anyone know the story behind this? Their graves are on the outside of the cemetery.

  2. July 3, 2012 at 11:35

    Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #Historic #Texas #Graveyard #ttot

  3. June 27, 2012 at 12:07

    Historic #Texas #Travel: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #dfw #iphonephotography

  4. June 27, 2012 at 08:27

    Wow, I really like the second photo of the two marble angel statues. They are stunning.

    How cool that you can find such great work in a cemetery.

    It’s good to know that comfort can be found in a grave yard – as odd as that seems!
    david recently posted..AAPL Stock Commentary – Pre Market June 26th 2012.

    • mentalmosaic
      June 27, 2012 at 09:34

      Hi David,

      Thank you!

      The lighting was really phenomenal that day. I wish I could special order great lighting on every excursion. I really lucked out this time around.

      And, yeah, I know what you mean about finding comfort at a graveyard. I only feel that way in the older ones. New cemeteries depress me, but something about all the trees and nature in older ones makes me feel peaceful.

      ~Tui

  5. June 26, 2012 at 15:49

    Historic Texas Graveyards: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #travel #ttot #iphonephotography

  6. June 26, 2012 at 11:07

    Historic #Texas #Graveyards: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #taps #ttot #travel

  7. June 25, 2012 at 20:07

    Historic Texas Graveyards: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa

  8. June 25, 2012 at 19:26

    I love going to cemetaries. You have some wonderful ones in Dallas as well. :)
    Paula recently posted..Day 16 – Bedtime Prayers

    • mentalmosaic
      June 25, 2012 at 19:27

      Hi Paula,

      There are a lot of interesting historical cemeteries in the DFW area. I have several in Dallas on my list to explore, but haven’t made it over there yet.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Tui

  9. June 23, 2012 at 19:44

    Thank you! :) RT @LeslynK: RT @mentalmosaic: #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #dfw #travel #iphone

  10. June 23, 2012 at 19:40

    RT @mentalmosaic: #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #dfw #travel #iphonephotography

  11. June 23, 2012 at 14:10

    #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #dfw #travel #iphonephotography

  12. June 23, 2012 at 08:40

    #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #wordmongering #iphonephotography

  13. June 22, 2012 at 16:44

    #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #travel #amwriting

  14. June 22, 2012 at 15:47

    Thanks for the tour. Loved it!
    Jane Sadek recently posted..Everything Else: Welcome Home?

    • mentalmosaic
      June 22, 2012 at 16:48

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. This cemetery was surprisingly beautiful.

      ~Tui

  15. June 22, 2012 at 12:02

    #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/EAoVdQWa #ttot #travel #angels

  16. June 22, 2012 at 11:25

    Thank you! RT @TravelAndCruis: RT @mentalmosaic: #Texas Photo Essay: Athens City Cemetery http://t.co/5GjyjfoU #ttot #iphonephotography

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